For many Halloweens now, Land of Illusion has been the premiere haunted house destination, with its state-of-the-art, theme-based attractions, haunted trail, and zombie patrol.
However, the proprietors of Land of Illusion, located in Butler County’s Madison Twp., have long harbored greater ambitions. After an underwhelming attempt to introduce a Christmas attraction in 2004, they went all in to try it again in 2017, with much greater success.
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“The first time, the light display trail was only a quarter-mile with a few hundred thousand lights,” said Brad Wymore, marketing manager for Land of Illusion. “Last year, we put in a mile-long trail with three million lights.”
The drive-through lights display, with some walkable elements, opens on Wednesday, Nov. 21.
To stand out from other light festivals, Land of Illusion settled on an international landmark theme, along with a few other idiosyncratic displays.
“We have a lighted Statue of Liberty, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Sydney Opera House,” Wymore said. “But we also have things like a motorcycle riding behind a NASCAR driver.”
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The Christmas Glow also had a Santa’s village, which included a crafts station, visits with Santa, and costumed characters such as the Grinch and Frosty the Snowman.
All of the above is back for 2018, with a few additions and enhancements.
“We expanded the trail from one mile to a mile-and-a-half,” he said. “There’s also a circular train that people can ride, like they have in the Mall of America.”
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Wymore said the Christmas Glow is only part of their strategy to expand Land of Illusion from being a place that terrifies adults to something that also warmly embraces children and families.
“We opened a waterpark last summer,” he said. “We’ve definitely grown our audience through that.”
The park will further mediate the horror aspect by draping large Christmas-themed backdrops over the haunted attraction entrances, so families can take selfies.
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The only other major change is what’s available during certain hours. On Monday through Wednesday, only the lighted trail will be open. On Thursday through Sunday, both the lighted trail and the Santa’s village will be open.
“That’s something we learned from last year,” Wymore said. “People are really busy during the week. People thought the lighted trail was a fun thing to do, but didn’t have time to experience the Santa’s village.”
WANT TO GO?
What: Christmas Glow at Land of Illusion
Where: 8762 Thomas Road, Middletown
When: 6-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 6-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 6-10 p.m. Sundays
Cost: $16 per carload (drive through only), $20 per carload (drive through and Christmas Village)
More info: glow.landofillusion.com or search Christmas Glow at Land of Illusion on Facebook